Pain free way to inject Humira

I’ve mentioned in a previous post of my incurable skin condition, Hidradenitis Suppurativa. In December, my doctor and I came to a conclusion it was time to look at new treatments. I weighed a couple of different options but ultimately decided on Humira injections.

Now, let me say I’m pretty tough when it comes to pain. Shots don’t even make me blink. I’ve had six tattoos, and of course Hidradenitis has toughed me up as well. But let me tell you, nothing and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for the excruciating pain of a Humira pen injection.

I did two shots initially in my doctor’s office and instantly broke into tears. It takes ten seconds for the medicine to infiltrate your skin. The pain is nothing I have ever felt before or since. It is the ten most agonizing seconds of my entire life. With the click of the pen my anxiety shot through the roof as waves of pain rolled in. Not only does it burn but mixed in with the sting of the shot created a mini torture device in this pen.

It started taking me fifteen minutes just to psyche myself up to push the trigger button. My nervous thumb hovered over the button as flashbacks from two weeks before played over in my mind. But my sweet loving husband tried his best to be optimistic. “Once you do this, you won’t have to do it for another two weeks!”

Yes, but then I’d be here again. Shaking and crying before I even injected it.

I read all sorts of blogs about trying this or that. Leave it out in the fridge 30min before you inject the shot.

I was already injecting myself in the thigh. I couldn’t even imagine injecting myself in the stomach.

Ice the area, don’t ice the area.

But nothing helped.

Until this week.

I told my dermatologist of the trouble I’ve been having and her nurse offered to show me a new way. I was hesitant but willing to try anything for a bit of relief.

“Inject it in the stomach,” she said. “It’s actually less painful in the stomach.”


I did  as she instructed and I tensed up but the ten seconds were now seconds and not torturous centuries. She was a miracle worker.

I’ll share with you her tricks.

1) Pick a spot on your stomach. Preferably use the side you are most comfortable with. I am right handed so I used my right side.

2) Wipe the spot with alcohol as usual.

3) Grab a fatty spot of your stomach. Yes, the only and one time when a bit of tummy is a good thing!!

4) Inject yourself. Now here’s the key. While you are injecting yourself,  use your index finger and your middle finger to stroke the injection site on each side of the shot while the 10 seconds are going.


Imagine the pencil is the pen.

The stroking will stimulate the nerve endings around the injection site distracting you from the mind numbing pain from the shot.

It was a huge difference for me. I went from a catastrophic ten pain level to a two. There was an initial tiny bit of pain before I used the new technique. But it felt more like a mosquito bite.

I’m going back to my doctor for the next shot to make sure I got the process down. And then I’ll be able to do it on my own.

Remember, pinch, shoot, and stroke.

And for you Hidradenitis Suppurativa peeps, Humira has been a wonder drug. I’ve been on it since the week before Christmas. And I went from having constant breakouts to being clear for almost two weeks. My dermatologist said it usually takes a lot longer than that to see results like mine.

I take it day by day.

I hope this post has given hope to those on Humira.

Please feel free to comment with any questions.


Top 5 songs that get me pumped to write

I’ve decided to post on Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of Sundays. No matter how hard I try, Sunday’s end up being novel writing/critique day. And then Walking dead or Dexter or Copper, Mad Men, or True Blood happens.

Music is my everything. I need to have a soundtrack to every scene I write. It’s incredibly hard to write without music. Can’t hear the emotion of the scene.

But I need to get into the mood to write.

This can be incredibly difficult after a long day of no writer things. How do I get in the right space to write?

Tunes! I got my top 5 jams that get me pumped, awake me, and get me anxious to write. Now these top 5 songs changes monthly, and I’m always looking for recommendations for new music. I also use Spotify for my free streaming service. I like Pandora’s radio better but I prefer to listen to music when I want to, not when Pandora allows me to play it. I want the power.

I tend to prefer dance/electronic music. Most of these tunes will fall into that genre.

Let’s get to the tracks and I can get back to finishing my current scene before the daily show starts.

5) Oblivion – Grimes

Grimes is fairly new to me. And it was love at first note. Her voice is airy and angelic and the melody is incredibly haunting. And the middle of the song takes it to an entirely new level. It helps me open my mind to let the creative juices pour in. I haven’t even made it through this entire album. I keep getting stuck on a couple of songs.  I can feel the words bubbling up in me right now. Or maybe that’s the greasy Mexican chips I ate earlier..

Also check out her other songs: Genesis and be a body

4) Mason Vs Princess Superstar – Perfect Exceeder

Now I’m stepping it up a notch. I’ve heard this for years and had no idea who it was until an awesome friend of mine sent it to me. I love the sound of this song. The whirling up, down, and all around, a rollercoster of sound. And it’s full of attitude!  It’s got lots of spunk. Comes in super handy when I’m writing a particularly snarky or sassy scene. I can feel it in my bones, forcing me to move.  It’s okay to give in.

3) Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki Remix (Extended Explicit)

It’s getting real! This is an avalanche of sound. It hits you in waves over and over again. I once wrote 1,000 words to this song on repeat!   Icould’ve sworn smoke billowed from my keyboard at one point. It’s also great if you have to write a party scene. Oddly enough this song was on the Project X soundtrack. I made fun of that movie but it has a crazy awesome soundtrack.

Also check out Kid Cudi. He’s an amazing artist. Got the most amazing beats.

Now we are in the top 2. Proceed only if you can handle mind blowing sounds.

2) Overdose – Lady Radio Mix (from the Party Monster soundtrack)

I love this song for several reasons. It helps me when I have to write a drug scene or writing a certain character in my novel. The song is so wonderfully 90’s club music. Ironically, Party Monster was set in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I also enjoyed the Party Monster despite the negative reviews. I thought the cast was great and it’s a movie worth watching.

Ready? My number 1 song to to get pumped to write is..

1) Sweet nothing – Calvin Harris featuring Florence and the Machine

I’ve loved Calvin Harris since his first album. If you haven’t checked it out, go, now, hurry. Freaking amazing. This song blows me away on so many levels. Florence’s vocals get inside me and move around. She’s one of the best mainstream female singers right now. And awesome Harris music is such a perfect compliment to the vocals. It makes me want to jump up and down and shake all over. I’ve played this over and over for hours on end. This song pumps me up to write, work out, get up, drive to work and start my day. I think it could even make taking out the trash awesome.

Also check out these other songs by Calvin Harris: Acceptable in the 80’s, Feel so close, Bounce, We found love, anything from his “I created Disco” album.

Songs that almost made the list: Yamaha by Delta Spirit and Gimme by Donnis

Now you know my list. I’d love to hear what songs put you in the mood to write!

That time when Richard III was a headless ghost on Blackadder

Today I am 32 years and 324 days old. The exact same age Richard the third was when he met his once mysterious demise.

King Richard III

It was quite lonely underneath the cars..

What better day to history nerd out!

I love European and ancient history. I get sucked into the history channel 2’s history docs. I’ve got so many books, dvd’s, and even coasters it’s kinda crazy.

One of my favorite British comedies was the Blackadder series. And episode one? The alternate history of the death of Richard the third!!

And to top it all off, this month the world is a buzz because the bones of the Richard the third have finally been found.. in a parking lot. Sadly not the cunning plan of one Baldrick.

Richard the third has a dark and twisted legacy  in part due to how Shakespeare portrayed him in the play of the same name. He’s always fascinated me because of the story of how he supposedly locked away twins who threatened his claim to the throne.

He was also described with several nasty ailments and deformities. It seemed whenever someone wanted to really vilify a person back in the day, the way to go about it was to say they were deformed. But it was very specific deformities, not just random insults.

I would really love to see a “yo mama” battle with British Royalty insults and character assassinations.

Of course my all time favorite British Royalty would have to be King Henry the 8th. I’m a total Tudor junkie. It’s such fantastic irony that Elizabeth  became one of the greatest monarchs in English History.   Herself the daughter of a king who beheaded more than 1 wife and divorced another just to have 1 son to rule after him. Elizabeth’s mother, Anne, was quite hated during her short time as queen.

If I wrote this story, brought it into my critique group, they’d tell me it was too far fetched. I would say the same thing too.

Anyone else miss the showtime show, The Tudors? I thought Jonathan Rhys-Meyers did a fantastic job as Henry the eighth. My favorite season was the second with Anne Boylen. The chemistry between them was mind blowing.

I will leave you with a picture of one of my favorite wives of Henry the 8th, on a coaster.

Any recommendations for any other British Royalty shows, music, and accessories? Or maybe you have a favorite royal? Please, share in the comments.

Why writers always forget about fun

It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me.

For my day job, I work at a university admissions office. I’m happiest when I’m busy and things are swirling around me. I hate standing still, or worse waiting. My current position is more than happy to oblige.

And these past few weeks have been full of 40 plus weeks, plus trying to squeeze in a social life, husband and cat time, and novel writing time.

I’ve been writing about 400 words on my lunch break about 3-4 times a week. Plus trying to keep my house from looking like an episode of hoarders.

But it all came to a head this Saturday.

I woke up and sat in front of my computer and had every intention to pound away words on my first Saturday off in two weeks. I had lofty goals for word counts and blog posts.

My body and brain had other plans. It had declared war and took me hostage.

I found myself reading news websites, searching, looking through YouTube videos, and falling into the black hole of Wikipedia.

What morning rush^ - - 614909
Oh sweet sweet internet

I looked up and it was 5pm. My brain needed a rest. It needed to do something other than work. It needed to bounce around in the madness of the internet and look at funny cats, celebrity news, and soak it in until I forgot the stresses of the week.

As a writer with a full time job, I always have so much on my plate. I schedule writing time, editing time, critique time, and even lunches and sleep. But I always forget about fun.

It didn’t even have to be a big expensive outing. For me it was catching up with the world and googling things I found on google and loosing myself in all sorts of media. I’m a full on internet nerd. I had to catch on meme’s, and my fav tumblr’s.

I think part of the reason fun is so forgettable is because writing is fun but it’s for a future fun. Each word we type gets us that much closer to our dream of quitting our day job for the freedom to work from home and write. The dream of doing what we love full time. There are days when I feel so close I can feel it prickle my skin but instead my alarm clock goes off again.

Writers need to have fun. It’s how we clear our minds and make space for new ideas for poems and stories. We don’t want our brains to turn into a really weird episode of hoarders.

Don’t let yourself forget about fun.

My goal for the week: schedule in video game and internet time.

My stubborn body will thank me for it.

New year, New blog

It’s been a long time since I last posted. And I can’t wait to jump in and start back up.

What you can expect in the coming year:

Sunday: I’ll be posting about my writing life or my life in general

Wed: I’ll be posting my fav links of the week and my current obsession. I watch A LOT of TV and movies and read quite a bit. I’m always nerding out about something. 

I’m so excited about being here on wordpress. I think this is going to be an awesome year!

Quick updates:

I am currently in round of rewrites for my WIP.  I’m using YWriter for the first time and I’ve found it’s been super helpful! I’m still too scared to try scrivener.  Maybe one day?

I hope to be done with all rewrites/edits by April. 

Time to dive in and get words in before bedtime. 


HELP THE ELF: I Found Santa’s Missing Nice List!

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa’s NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.

Ever since I read about it, I’ve been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

Yes that’s right…I found part of Santa’s missing NICE LIST. There it was, fluttering in the wind, half caught under the corner of my welcome mat. And shock of all shocks, I recognized the name, and I bet you will too.

Here it is below:

NAME: Annie Neugebauer

LOCATION: Annie Neugebauer



OBSERVATIONS: Annie is quick to help out friends with giant plotting issues and is an awesome Zumba partner. Note to Self: Her house is the best to visit for cookies. Although beware of the fluffy cat..

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift

~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa’s missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Annie, I’m so glad to have you in my life! Enjoy the gift I sent to your inbox and have a wonderful Christmas! Photo credit:

assorted gold baubles ( / CC BY 3.0

The Next big thing meme

My good friend Kelsey tagged me in the next big thing meme. And since my novel is currently in the hands of beta readers, thought I’d participate!

And on a side note, this will be my last post on this blog. I will be moving to a different site in the next few months.

WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK? Kissing a gorgon. A gorgon is a Greek mythological creature, mostly associated with Medusa. My main character is a modern gorgon who lives in NYC.

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? I got laid off in the summer of 2009 and was on the verge of turning 30. I was really nervous about turning 30 and being unemployed. To me that time before was so incredibly nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what waited for me on the other side. I didn’t feel like I was where I thought I should be. And one long day I got caught up watching the biography channel’s special on Anne Rice. And it talked about how she dealt with some personal tragedies with her writing and created characters that mirrored her emotions. And it hit me. What would be the absolute worst thing about turning 30? And I remembered my Medusa obsession..and lo and behold. Gorgons have to wait until they turn 30 to find out if they can turn living things into stone. And she had to have a crazy ex, who was the former god of war, who wanted her back. And the cherry on top? Her awesome best friend Hermes who is bi-sexual.


 It’s a lot urban fantasy and a little bit chick lit.


This is a tough one. Medusa is a rather spunky/sarcastic/nervous wreck of a gorgon who over thinks everything.  I could see Maggie Gyllenhall playing her. She’s got a great vulnerability as well as a great sense of strength. Also I could see Deborah Ann Woll take the role too. She’s amazing on the HBO show, True Blood.

But I so want Michael Urie to play Hermes. He’s the best damn thing about the sitcom, “Partners.”

Sex and the City starring Medusa

Represented by an agent. I think every writer has to find their own path. I know self-pub is easier but I like challenges. I don’t want to go it alone. I want to work someone who believes in my story as much as I do.

First draft? A year. Then after extensive critiques, realized I had to cut the sucker in half and totally rewrite the 2nd half. It would’ve been easier to saw myself in half. But I did it.

Here’s my first paragraphs:

I hated desperate local news reporters more than bold subway rats. I hated the fact Hermes sent me to talk to one on my birthday because he was “too fragile” to face his “public” after our emotional goodbye. I slid his small goodbye gift inside the pocket of my dark blue dress and adjusted my black goggles, hiding my red puffy eyes. It didn’t even occur to my best friend that me being on camera tonight could be a disaster, a viral video in the making.  Never mind the fact that I hated the way my snakes looked on film; fat and awkward.
            Oh for queen’s sakes, it was Luann Jenkins. A sad forty-something human and Manhattan implant from Mississippi who looked at gorgons and fallen gods as if we were low-income aliens from space. That special mix of bigotry and classism. Thanks, Hermes. Love you too.
            She huffed as I made my way down the steps of Hermes’s new brownstone building on the Upper West Side. Her stiff block of over-processed hair didn’t move an inch. “Who the hell are you?”

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over this recently. I would say a mix of bridget jones diary mixed with the Sookie stackhouse mysteries.

My fear of turning 30. And people I’ve known and worked with along the way. I wanted to write a novel people my age could relate to. Growing up isn’t what it used to be.

It’s also a look at the bigotry that exists outside a culture. Many times people will torment and mock a person because they don’t act like people think they should. Medusa gets mocked by other gorgons because she doesn’t fit into neat little gorgon stereotypes and norms. I’ve dealt with similar things.

Medusa is seriously funny. For all the troubles she goes through she finds humor in the oddest places and times. She’s the girl who laughs at inappropriate times. And she’s got a wild streak that Dionysus loves to coax out of her with little effort.

You can find me on twitter, @thefebemoss

Have a great year everyone!